Unheimliche Geschichten

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Unheimliche Geschichten
Living dead.jpg
Directed by Richard Oswald
Produced by Gabriel Pascal
Written by Richard Oswald
Starring Paul Wegener
Harald Paulsen
Roma Bahn
Mary Parker
Gerhard Bienert
Distributed by J.H. Hoffberg Company Inc.
Release dates
  • 1932 (1932) (Germany)
Running time
89 minutes
Country Germany
Language German

Unheimliche Geschichten (Uncanny Stories) is a 1932 German horror/comedy film directed by the prolific Austrian film director Richard Oswald, starring Paul Wegener, and produced by Gabriel Pascal.

The story is a merging of three separate short stories, Edgar Allan Poe's The Black Cat, The System of Doctor Tarr and Professor Fether and Robert Louis Stevenson's The Suicide Club, set within a story frame of a reporter's hunt for a crazy scientist. It is a black comedy revisiting many of the classic themes of the horror genre. It was Paul Wegener's first talking movie.


A crazed scientist, Morder (Paul Wegener), driven even crazier by his nagging wife, murders her and walls her up in a basement, a la Poe's The Black Cat. He then flees as the police and a reporter, Frank Briggs (Harald Paulsen), set out to track him down. Morder eventually escapes, by pretending to be insane, into an asylum. Though here the patients has managed to free themselves, lock up the guards, and take charge (inspired by Poe's The System of Doctor Tarr and Professor Fether). After Morder's final escape, he turns up as president of a secret Suicide Club (based on the short story by Stevenson).


Worldwide Releases[edit]

The film is also known by numerous other titles including Fünf unheimliche Geschichten (Germany), Five Sinister Stories (International: English title), Ghastly Tales (USA), Tales of the Uncanny, The Living Dead (USA), and Unholy Tales (International: English title). [1] The film was later re-edited for an American market release known as "The Living Dead" in 1940, with many of the comedic scenes taken out.[2]

Unheimliche Geschichten (1919)[edit]

Conrad Veidt in Unheimliche Geschichten (1919)

There is a silent horror film of the same name directed and produced by Oswald, featuring Conrad Veidt. Unlike the 1932 Unheimliche Geschichten this was an anthology film combining five stories framed by a narrative set in a book shop (a technique later used for Paul Leni's Waxworks). Portraits of a Strumpet, Death, and the Devil come to life and amuse themselves by reading stories--about themselves, of course, in various guises and eras. The stories used were: The Black Cat; The Suicide Club; Anselme Heine's Die Erscheinung; co-scripter Robert Liebmann's Die Hand; and Oswald's own Der Spuk.

It was considered a lost film. However, surviving prints of the film were edited together in Europe and shown as a whole feature at the annual Luminato arts festival in Toronto in June 2009.[3]


  1. ^ http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0023640/
  2. ^ The Aurum Film Encyclopedia of Science Fiction, Hardy, Phil (ed.), Aurum Press Ltd, 1995
  3. ^ http://www.luminato.com/2009/events/40

External links[edit]